Sandwell councillors back resolution on standards

Published 18th April 2018

Councillors have unanimously called for stronger powers to deal with elected members who abuse their position.

The full council meeting last night received the annual report of the committee dealing with standards matters at Sandwell Council.

The report states clearly how the law limits what action councils can take against councillors – for example, councils have no powers to sack or suspend councillors apart from in limited circumstances when criminal charges are brought.

Following a lengthy debate which you can now view online, councillors unanimously backed a resolution which:

Reaffirms their full commitment to promoting the highest standards of conduct among all elected and co-opted councillors/members; and

  • Recognises that while the conduct of those councillors identified in the annual report has been damaging, the council has demonstrated a firm and resolute commitment in holding councillors to account whenever they are alleged to have fallen below the standards of conduct expected of them.
  • The resolution also agreed for the chair of the ethical standards and member development committee, Councillor Geoff Lewis, to respond on behalf of the whole council to the national Committee on Standards in Public Life consultation.

Councillor Lewis has been asked by the council to reference the challenges and issues raised by Sandwell’s standards cases in the annual report and stress the full council’s strong backing for increasing councils’ powers to investigate and issue sanctions for breaches of the councillors’ code of conduct. He will also highlight Sandwell councillors’ concerns about the limits of current legislation.

In the annual report, Councillor Lewis said it was important to remember that the standards issues the committee has dealt with apply to a very small number of elected members and that the conduct of the vast majority of elected and co-opted members has been exemplary.

Full council and cabinet meetings can be viewed live or by catching-up on demand via our webcast.